Chloe and Olivia

Bell Gale Chevigny, Author
Bell Gale Chevigny, Author Grove/Atlantic $18.95 (355p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1182-1
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
When the eponymous heroines meet as graduate students in Rome in 1961, they stay up all night talking. Though attracted physically to each other, their friendship goes on for 14 years (and more than 300 pages) before the subject of sex together is addressed--and dismissed--in a few sentences. By then Olivia has married and had a child, and Chloe has committed to a career, leading to obvious comparisons of their lives. Chevigny, a professor of literature, crams her text with discussions of social issues, student-teacher relationships and sexual politics, as she offers a survey course touching briefly on Henry James, Cesare Pavese, feminism, celibacy, the generation gap, black power, the war on poverty and U.S. imperialism, with emphasis on Central America. The inspiration for the tale comes from A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf, who would not likely be pleased. (May)
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